The unique challenges confronted by our education system in 2021 call for a special version of our annual Indicators Report. The coronavirus pandemic shined a light on what many educators have known for a long time: there are many important factors that influence student success such as mental health, nutrition, and high-speed internet access. The measures that seek to get a better understanding of the “whole student” appear in this report.

For many schools, test scores have taken a back seat for the moment. We plan on keeping them in future iterations – common measures are extremely important for understanding how our education system serves different groups of students and where we may need to make additional investments. The 2021 data all point us toward the most pressing issues affecting student success and well-being during what was a challenging time for students, their families and educators.

Beyond the K-12 system, early childhood education is finally getting its moment: society at large can’t ignore how integral a functioning early education system is for allowing young children and their parents to thrive.  This report calls attention to important indicators related to the health of our early education system.

And finally, we are expanding the report to include data related to postsecondary education opportunities beyond 2- and 4- year college. Nearly half of Maine students don’t enroll in college following high school graduation. While we are working to increase the numbers of students pursuing college degrees, we must emphasize the number of excellent postsecondary options that exist that can meet the needs of these students, adult learners, and Maine’s workforce such as career and technical pathways and adult education. There are higher learning opportunities for ALL Maine learners, and this report endeavors to include information about all of those pathways, giving them the recognition that they deserve.

We hope that the data is helpful to school communities, policymakers, and anyone who is interested in the big picture of Maine’s education system. These are hard times, but it’s during these moments that we are able to focus on what is most essential. If we continue to focus holistically on the entire education pipeline and look at the complex needs of all Maine learners within it, we will build a better future for all.


Jason Judd, Ed.D
Executive Director
Educate Maine


These data points provide a snapshot of Maine students in the statewide education system. Not all data points in the report are contained below. Please click on “Read More” to see more data for each category.

Click on the bars below to see selected data points for each indicator. While we strive to include the most recent data available, many data sources are current as of 2019 (prior to the pandemic). Graduation and postsecondary information are available for the high school class of 2020. We will include updated data as soon as it is available.

  • Maine public school enrollment increased by 684 students between fall 2020 and fall 2021. This is compared to a drop of 7,862 students the previous year due to the pandemic.

  • Maine schools are more diverse than Maine’s population on the whole, comprising 13% students of color.


  • 71% of Maine children under 6 have all available parents in the workforce. Early childhood education is a critical backbone of a functioning workforce.

  • 22% of Maine children live in a childcare desert.

  • Only about one third of Maine 4-year-olds are enrolled in publicly-funded pre-K.

  • Maine does not have data on how many 4-year-olds are enrolled in all types of preschool programming.


  • The average cost of full-time, center-based infant care in Maine is $11,700 per year.

  • A two-parent family making the state’s median income spends an average of 14% of their yearly income on childcare for one child.

  • A single-parent family making the state’s median income spends an average of 45% of their yearly income on childcare for one child.


  • Only about one quarter of Maine childcare providers are at a step 3 or 4 (the highest levels) of the Quality for ME rating system.

  • Maine childcare providers are struggling to retain qualified staff, who are leaving the field for lower-skilled positions that pay more.


  • The median wage for kindergarten teachers in Maine ($53,270) is more than twice the median wage of early childhood educators ($24,030).

Student Well-Being

  • 1 in 5 Maine high school students reported experiencing four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences. The rate is higher for girls than for boys.

  • 1 in 4 Maine middle school students and nearly 1 in 3 high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless for two weeks or more (2019 data).

  • 59% of middle school students and 57% of high school students in Maine report feeling like they matter in their community (2019).

For more data disaggregated by subgroup such as gender and race/ethnicity, click “Read More” below.

Student Resources

  • At least 14% of students had trouble accessing high-speed internet at home when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Maine. Access issues were more often related to cost than to infrastructure.

  • Roughly 6% of Maine students did not have a reliable device at home prior to the pandemic.

Career and Technical Education

  • There are 9,164 students participating in 27 career and technical education regions and centers across Maine.

High School Graduation

  • The Maine high school graduation rate has been steady at 87% over the past five years.

  • The high school graduation rate varies by subgroup. For example, 79% economically disadvantaged students graduate from high school on-time compared with 95% of their higher income peers.

College Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion

  • College enrollment rates declined from 60% in 2019 to 55% in 2020 among Maine students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • College persistence rates declined from 67% to 63% between 2019 and 2020 among Maine students.

  • The college completion rate was relatively steady between 2019 and 2020 (63% to 64%), as most students were able to finish out the school year in the Spring 0f 2020. The effect of COVID-19 on completion rates may become more apparent in future data.

Adult Education

  • 938 adults received a high school credential (diploma or HiSET) through Adult Education programs in the 2020-21 school year.

Postsecondary Degrees and Credentials of Value

  • 53% of Maine adults hold a degree or credential of value – a precursor to skilled employment with family-sustaining wages.